Remember when a “cloud” was a fluffy white mass of crystallized water in the sky? Or “viral” referred to a case of strep throat? The words that make up our vocabulary are cosntantly changing and adapt new meaningings, sometimes distorting to the point where the original meaning is completely… meaningless. 

Though we might look to social media as the most prominent stage for examples of etymological evolution, “semantic change,” as it is more commonly known, is a phenomenon as old as language itself. While for the most part, such mutations are harmless, for key industries where specific wording matters, use of outdated terms can lead to major issues.

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